25 Sept 2022

Longford District Court: Assault charges against Granard woman dismissed

Judge Hughes describes evidence of main witness as 'somewhat ropey'

Longford District Court: Assault charges against Granard woman dismissed
By Aoife Carberry

A Longford Care Assistant who came before a special sitting of Longford District court faced with three charges of assault between April and July 2015 had her case dismissed last Friday, April 29.

Roberta Neilon Hynes, Castlenugent, Granard, was accused of assaulting one resident at a residential care facility at Oaklands Grove, Oaklands on April 5, 2015. She also faced charges of a further two counts of assault on another resident at the same address on July 5, 2015 and on an unknown date between May 2 and 8, 2015.

The Prosecution called six witnesses in total, the first of whom was Dr Paul Cahill, a Clinical Psychologist, who gave evidence of the alleged victims’ disabilities, and the reasons why they would not be in a position to give their own evidence in court.

The main witness for the prosecution, Judy Maher, has worked at Oaklands as a Care Assistant since April 3, 2015.

In her evidence to the court, Ms Maher alleged that on April 5, 2015, Ms Neilon Hynes had used offensive language towards one of the service users, before kicking the woman in question “six, maybe seven” times as she tried to get her to another room in the house.

Ms Maher also claimed that she had observed Ms Neilon Hynes use physical means on a number of occasions to get a service user to sit down on a date after the May Bank Holiday in 2015.

Care Assistants Veronica Beirne and Helen Brady both gave evidence that they had seen marks or bruising on one of the alleged injured parties but they had not seen Roberta Neilon Hynes abuse anyone.

“I didn’t work with Roberta that often, but I didn’t see her manhandling any of the residents or causing any harm to them,” Ms Beirne told the court.

In her evidence, meanwhile, Ms Brady revealed her shock when Ms Maher shared her concerns: “I was very shocked and upset. I just wanted to come home and never go back”.

There were no witnesses for the defence called , but during his deliberations, Judge Seamus Hughes said: “I appreciate that Ms Hynes’ future career depends on my decision”.

He pointed out that he had to deal with the evidence in the strictest legal principles and must have no doubt whatsoever regarding the charges.

Describing Ms Maher’s evidence as “somewhat ropey”, Judge Hughes then said that it was “conflicting and confusing”, before dismissing all three charges against Ms Neilon Hynes.

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